White Elephants

If you spend a little time reading around on the education media, you get a strong sense of impending doom. The private, for-profit universities are facing powerful new regulations that may well shut them down or curtail operations; at least one, Kaplan, is already announcing lay offs. The private, not for profits, long almost completely unregulated, face increasing calls for regulations and accountability. Everything’s up for grabs; the room’s full of white elephants.

The public universities have been in an almost constant state of financial crisis for many years, and even the money-printing athletic conferences are, in fact, often operating in the red. The long festering problems centered around the destruction of tenure and the over reliance on part time faculty are beginning to be reflected in increasingly clear ways in the research into college teaching. Educators love to use the rhetoric of crisis, but it may be justified now.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and Smarthinking.com. I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol] writinginthewild.com

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